In a post back in March on Jorge Ben’s From Brazil, I talked about a bit of a mystery connected to a mis-press of that album that included music from Wilson Simonal. After a little digital detective work (Youtube really is amazing) I was able to start tracking down most of the songs that I originally copied from that LP. There were songs from throughout Simonal’s late 1960s career, spanning 5 different records and a couple of singles. Based off of that I knew that the record that I had must have been a compilation of Simonal’s material. Lucky enough for me, this particular record was available on Ebay from a dealer in Mexico, including a tracklist. The tracklist didn’t include my favorite track from the entire LP, what I now know is “Correnteza,” so I thought that maybe this wasn’t the one I was looking for. Since it had so many of the songs, I decided to go ahead and get the record and see if I’d finally solved this year’s long mystery.
Perhaps fitting given how long this mystery had been bugging me, I was yet again delayed in getting to the bottom of things. After I bought the record inexplicably the Post Office never delivered it to my house. Instead it just sat in the sorting facility as if it had gone out. Because the dealer had mentioned that shipping from Mexico was taking 3-4 weeks, I didn’t think anything of the extra time it seemed the record was taking to make it’s way to me. On the day where I finally decided ask him about the record, and he directs me to a tracking number to check on the shipping, the Post Office decides to ship it back to Mexico as unclaimed mail! The LP makes it’s way safely to Mexico, but then we had to wait (and wait and wait) until my new housing situation got resolved just to make sure the whole thing didn’t happen again. A full 6 months after I had bought the record, I finally was able to put the mystery to rest and just enjoy these sounds again.
Turns out that not only was this music mistakenly pressed onto at least a few copies of Jorge Ben’s From Brazil, there were also mistakes on the tracklist. Instead of the 9 tracks that were listed on the front cover, there were actually 12 on the record. On the back, “Se Voce Pensa” is mislabeled as “Se Vonce Pensa.” Clearly there were some serious quality control issues when this LP got pressed up.
Thankfully, the music is nothing but quality. Back when I first got the Jorge Ben LP I hadn’t heard much at all from Simonal. The only track I’d heard from him was “Nao Vem Que Nao Tem,” which is more spoken than sung and so I didn’t recognize his singing voice. It’s interesting comparing the two albums, since there are some sonic similarities between them. Both artists were mixing up Brazilian bossa nova and samba with Rock, Jazz and Soul sounds during this time. The 12 tracks are a cross-section of Simonal’s recordings from 1966-1969, all on the Odeon record label. It appears that the record was created specifically for the Mexican market, based on the Spanish liner notes and as such has a different label than what I’m used to seeing from Odeon records out of Brazil. The label is very similar to the Capitol records labels of the time, with the rainbow of colors around the edge.
My best guess for how Simonal’s music ended up on a Jorge Ben record in the first place is that the Capitol pressing plant in Mexico must have also dealt with Kapp/4 Corners. The two records must have been pressed back to back and a few copies get mis-pressed in the process. I’m actually really thankful for that mistake. I’ve gained two albums of top shelf material and a wealth of knowledge about both Jorge Ben and Wilson Simonal in the process.